Patrol Boys

(An old favorite from 11/20/14)

When I was in 6th and 7th grade, I was a “patrol boy.” After careful instruction, I was given a white Sam Brown belt (a 3″ white belt with an angled strap from one hip to the opposite shoulder). And I was given power. I was the capo di tutti capi (or one of them) for Lincoln School in Mt. Prospect. Donna was a patrol girl back in Rye, NY.

I stood at the street corner. When kids wanted to cross the street, I would thrust my arms out to the sides (“don’t go“). When traffic slowed, I would step into the street and shove my arm into the air – stop! And cars would slow and stop. It’s a patrol boy. Kids would cross. I would step back and motion the drivers with an “as you were” wave. Yeah.  6th grade.

Today, you see crossing guards who are older than dirt. Some look old enough to be my grandfather (or grandmother). Now that’s old. Not as nimble as a patrol boy. They wear iridescent vests, reflective hats, and they carry a monster “STOP” sign. A few look like they’re geared up for a SWAT team. I remember seeing one old guy wearing a helmet.

I always wondered why the patrol boy era came to an end. Probably lawyers.  And helicopter parents who worry about giving their (or someone else’s) child authority. Autonomy. Power. Risk. I frankly think it would be great if we could resume the patrol boy (and girl) era. Think about the sense of responsibility. Confidence. Growing up. Yeah – I know it’s a different time. But it’s still the old protecting versus insulating children (see my offering of 11/21/13). We want to give children wings. And roots.

2 thoughts on “Patrol Boys

  1. Don Fagerberg

    Scott,

    I, too, was a patrol boy, enjoying the sense of almost-adult responsibility, having been selected by the principal because I was “responsible.” I wished I could have kept my Sam Brown belt, but going off to the Jr. High School was exciting and I never thought of it again.

    Thanks for bringing back a memory that was long-forgotten.

    Don

    Don Fagerberg, Founder *Ministry Mentors* * enhances the professional effectiveness of active clergy, strengthens their personal and spiritual health, and affirms their gifts for ministry.* http://www.ministrymentors.org Phone: 847-804-1644

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    On Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 8:52 PM, Renaissance Hombre wrote:

    > scottpetersen posted: “(An old favorite from 11/20/14) When I was in 6th > and 7th grade, I was a “patrol boy.” After careful instruction, I was given > a white Sam Brown belt (a 3″ white belt with an angled strap from one hip > to the opposite shoulder). And I was given power. I ” >

  2. Jim Frerichs

    Scott,
    Interestingly enough, and I haven’t thought about it for quite a while, I too was a patrol boy. For two years I was part of a team of three 5th and 6th graders (moved on to Junior High in 7th grade ) responsible for guarding a crossing at a Federal Highway. We held the keys for a box where we manually controlled a light signal at an intersection on US 30 that was otherwise traffic-control free, and concurrently entered the four-lane intersection wearing our white belts, with arms extended.
    Yes, we were carefully selected, instructed and overwhelmingly trusted. We were also respected by motorists and non-school adult pedestrians.
    What a different world!
    Jim

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